Haikyuu!! – 12

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There’s more than one way to skin a crow.

The action begins in probably the biggest match in Haikyuu so far, at least given the historical implications of the rivalry.  It seems pretty clear that this aspect is an important part of the story – not only are we given an extended look at Nekoma’s old-timer of a coach (who I believe is actually named Nekomata) but a flashback to one of his previous meetings with a Kurasuno squad led by Ukai the elder, the legendary coach I assume we’ll be seeing in the present at some point before the story is done.

There are episodes of Haikyuu that are pretty hard to write about, and this is definitely one of them.  It’s a show that speaks for itself quite admirably and relatively speaking offers a minimal (though not microscopic) amount of subtext.  We have a classic battle of contrasts between the talented but ragged individuals Crows and the seamlessly unexceptional Cats, who “flow like the blood in their veins”.  Between the genius setter Kageyama and the unimposing Kenma, who succeeds by fitting in with the rest of his team like hand-in-pocket (and by shrewdly observing the opponent).

There’s no sense that this is going to be a hate-filled rivalry – I don’t see any reprehensible or even especially irritating guys on either side (though Tsukishima comes close).  The game is interesting to watch play out, the cat-and-mouse of Cat and Crow as each side adjusts to what the other is doing.  For Nekoma that largely means trying to take Hinata out of the game – and this they accomplish by sliding Inuoka Sou (Ikeda Kyousuke, who was great as Tagi in Ginga e Kickoff) onto him as a shadow.  This, of course, represents another hill for Hinata to climb – and unlike in some prior cases, he seems to respond to the challenge with a relatively upbeat frame of mind.  What’s happening to him in this game, frustrating as it is, is actually rather flattering if you think about it.

Things get so bad for Hinata that he actually opens his eyes when spiking – with predictably disastrous results, at least at first.  We even get to see Kageyama spike in this game, a real rarity – and naturally, his form and technique are perfect.  Practice game or not it did feel to me as if Kageyama continuing to feed Hinata over and over despite getting rejected every time was a bit of a dramatic device, though that impression was surely intensified by the fact that Karusano was winning some points through Asahi and Tanaka, none of which were shown to the audience.  To be honest I kept wishing Sugawara would get into the action, which I suppose is a sign he’s become my favorite character – though I wouldn’t expect that to happen anytime soon the way Kageyama is playing.

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Haikyuu - 12 -9 Haikyuu - 12 -10 Haikyuu - 12 -11
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Haikyuu - 12 -19 Haikyuu - 12 -20 Haikyuu - 12 -21
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  1. B

    I'm actually mildly surprised and impressed that they managed to compress about 3.5 chapters' worth of content into one episode without making it feel rushed. Good thing too- I was wondering if they could cover the Inter-High arc at the rate they were going. For reference, the arc lasts until (approximately) Chapter 70, and were now at chapter 30. Of course this unfortunately meant that a number things got left out- I think the manga showed a few panels of Tanaka and Asahi spiking, and people commenting about how Karasuno kept relying on Hinata. I certainly see why you think of it as a dramatic device, but I think Kageyama doggedly tossing to Hinata was meant to highlight certain aspects about his (Kageyama's) personality and character development that will show in one way or another later in the series. One thing that I do like about the adaptation is that they manage to successfully imply a lot of (I wish I could say all, but alas, nothing's perfect) of the stuff that got cut out.

    On a happier note, that scene with Tanaka, Yamamoto, Sugawara and Yaku was one of my favourite comedic moments from the manga, and seeing it animated was pure gold.

    I get the feeling that Sugawara becoming your favourite character has a fair bit to do with you being a fan of Irino Miyu's work in general- but, hey, I'm as guilty of that as you probably are (though I'm biased towards other VAs), so who am I to talk?

  2. R

    I'd say that because it was a practice match, Kageyama could afford to keep tossing to Hinata since he was trying to essentially develop a new weapon midgame.

    That being said, this is a lot of material they crammed into one ep. Once the interhigh starts there aren't a lot of nice "break" points they could neatly wrap up the season with except for the last match. Which I'm still apprehensive about them trying to get there in the amount of episodes they have.

    But this episode didn't feel too rushed so it might be OK (watch as I just jinxed myself)

  3. g

    I didn't like it omitted couple of scenes. I think they can cut some humour scenes but leave more important things. Like for example in training episode 11 they didn't show how Kageyama & Sugawara go lengths for working with opposite pairs' person. In these chapters Kageyama asked specifically Asahi for training with him "toss & spike" and Sugawara gave Hinata sheet with sings for every attack (in real matches you can see how a setter gives hand sings for every other player what attack will be played), because he doesn't have so supreme ball's control and can't so effortlessly communicate without words with Hinata.
    In this episode they cut explanation for libero's role & rules, in the manga it was a page and half of the explanations (if somebody want to understand, here is a whole explanation, don't be afraid, it hasn't got any spoilers: Page 1: http://img.batoto.net/comics/2012/11/24/h/read50b0c7c4aa258/img000015.png Page 2: http://img.batoto.net/comics/2012/11/24/h/read50b0c7c4aa258/img000016.png)

  4. By the way, does anyone else find Kenma's character design suspiciously reminiscent of Hikaru Shindou?

  5. L

    Now that you mention it.. that hair! Man, now I feel like reading hikaru no go again, was such a great manga 😐

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